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D2C. A question...

I suspect there's a really simple answer to this, but much like my compatriot, Paddington,  I am a hamster of very little brain, and big concepts confuse me...

D2C means, if I understand correctly, 'Direct To Consumer'.  People talk about D2C sets.


With the exception of things like ComiCon limited runs, isn't every Lego set sold 'Direct to the consumer'?  Sure, they're available from other retailers, but there isn't anything that, say, you can buy in John Lewis that you can't buy from Lego.

So what's that all about then?

/goes for lie down in darkened room


  • davee123davee123 Member Posts: 852
    I... guess I assumed that "Direct To Consumer" was a reference to "LEGO Direct" (a now defunct group within LEGO).

    The way the company worked in the 1990s and before was essentially without contact from the community.  They'd develop products (for kids) behind closed doors, do some product testing with them, and then release the stuff that did well in testing.

    LEGO Direct was an attempt to engage the consumers directly, and respond to consumer demands-- in particular the AFOL community, which was centered around LUGNET and RTL.  Eventually, LEGO Direct dissolved, but also morphed into the LEGO Community Team.

    One of the first initiatives that they had was creating sets that the fan community really wanted, like re-releasing vintage sets.  The "first" was arguably the #10000 Guarded Inn (re-release of #6067).  At the time, all 5-digit set numbers starting with "1" were supposedly reserved for LEGO Direct.

    The oldest reference I know of for the term "Direct To Consumer" is from 2000 from Brad Justus, describing LEGO Direct:

    LEGO Direct is a business unit of the LEGO Company. Among its responsibilities is the management of direct commerce to consumers. These commerce activities -- both on the Internet and through catalogs -- are (or will be) conducted under the service mark of "LEGO Shop at Home;" this includes the sale of bulk elements as well as standard retail product. (In fact, all direct-to-consumer commerce globally, online and off, will be conducted under the LEGO Shop At Home tradename.)  Also among the responsibilities of LEGO Direct are the development and management of direct-to-consumer communities (especially the LEGO Club), both online and off, and consumer relationship building activities, again all on a global basis. These community/relationship activities will be conducted under the tradename of LEGO Direct.
    I'm not sure when the sets themselves starting becoming known as "D2C" sets, though.  Certainly I can't find any reference to "D2C" on LUGNET, which was prominent throughout LEGO Direct's history.  So it could be that the "D2C" terminology came later and is a reference to something else, but I'm not sure.  For now, I'm still going to guess "LEGO Direct".

  • BumblepantsBumblepants Member Posts: 7,538
    edited September 2016
    Lego keeps them exclusive to themselves for the first 3 months or so of release. Then TRU, Amazon, and the rest are allowed to sell them. I think that is the distinction.
  • Penkid11Penkid11 Member Posts: 788
    The idea is that Lego is the one that directly sends out D2C sets (or exclusives, if you'd rather) to their consumers. You can only get these sets directly from Lego, either through:

    Lego retail stores
    [email protected]
    Fulfilled by other retailers (TRU and Target don't actually carry the exclusives, they take orders from Lego and ship them out directly).
  • luckyrussluckyruss Member Posts: 872
    edited September 2016
    The relationship is directly between the Lego Group (or a subsidiary co) and the end user / consumer, rather than the sale being conducted through an intermediary retailer (JL, TRU, Tesco, etc etc).  So the D2C label applies primarily to those sets which are only available through that route (at least initially).

    Although I kind of agree that any set sold without an intermediary could be thought of as a "D2C sale".  The relationship between TLG and LBR confuses that a little - more so perhaps than in the days of LEGO Direct.

    "D2C" as an expression is in my mind a marketing abbreviation, so Lego may never have meant it to apply (but maybe someone in their team decided it would be the trendy thing to do)
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Member Posts: 1,528
    Ah, I see.
    Thanks all.
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